Yes, it's 2021. Yes, the year is already flying by. No, I'm not trying to make it go any faster than it already is. But yes, I am already very excited for the 2022 MLB season.

Looking at the year the Rockies have had, both on the field and in the administration offices, it has been a rough one. Colorado fans are nothing short of loyal, but I know frustrations are running high. While we still have a couple more months left in the 2021 season, here's a look ahead at what I think are the five most anticipated match ups for the Rockies starting in March 2022.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Rockies are slated to both visit the Dodgers' home opener and host LA for Colorado's home opener in Denver. This is a pretty obvious one, because who doesn't have at least a slight rivalry with LA, but the Dodgers have also been making some huge moves this trade season.

With the massive addition of Max Scherzer from the Nationals, all the stress of Clayton Kershaw still being on injury suddenly doesn't seem quite as bad. With the arms of Scherzer and other 2021 pitcher addition Trevor Bauer, depth on the mound is not a concern.

And, of course, Mookie Betts. A move that had every Dodgers fan on their feet, Betts joining the organization in 2020 was huge. And, fans can rest easy at night knowing that Betts is going to be there for a while. 12 years to be exact.

Los Angeles sports are no stranger to super teams (cough, cough, the Lakers), and the Dodgers are no different. With a current powerhouse lineup that isn't looking to change that dramatically over the forseeable future, it hurts me to say that they will be a force coming to Denver to kick off the Rockies' 2022 season.

San Francisco Giants

I will try to stay as unbiased as possible in this, seeing as I'm a Giants fan, but I also don't think it's that hard to see why the Giants are a much anticipated 2022 series.

Giants fans, a lot like Packers fans (another team of mine, guilty), are kind of everywhere. I myself have been seen wearing some orange to Coors Field. Giants fans have a tendency to show up and show out when the Bay Area team makes a stop in mile high city.

But, it's not just loyalty that is the driving force for the anticipation. With their best season since arguably the 2014 World Series Championship team, the lull the Giants were in suddenly seems like it was worth the wait. Buster Posey is looking like his old self and Brandon Crawford is, well, Brandon Crawford.

And this was all before the addition of infield/outfield utility Kris Bryant. Bryant's reputation precedes him, and the Giants grabbing him this season from the Cubs was a blockbuster move. The Rockies are familiar with Bryant, and he with them, and I suspect it will be an electric reception at Coors when the Giants come to town.

St. Louis Cardinals

Admittedly, this team was at the forefront of my mind purely because of Nolan Arenado. I know I'm not the only one.

Arenado's trip to Denver for this year's All-Star Game was the homecoming you would expect for someone who was so vital to the organization. That is, before the Rockies really dropped the ball on him, especially considering Arenado wanted to start and finish his career in Colorado.

The eight-time golden glove third baseman is bound to get a hero's welcome in the 2022 Cardinals-Rockies match up, but he isn't the only Cardinal who's fun to watch. In his 18th season, veteran catcher Yadier Molina is a baseball household name for a reason.

While it's not yet set in stone that Molina is returning to the Cardinals after the 2021 season, there are rumblings that the extension will come at the end of this season. The Arenado trade to the Cardinals hasn't yielded the fire I think St. Louis fans were expecting, but it'll be interesting to see the team they come back as after the off season.

San Diego Padres

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Donned "Slam-Diego", the Padres are beyond ripples and are into causing full-on waves throughout the MLB. While it feels like every season the team is deemed "young", they're bursting at the seams with talent and further potential.

For the 2021 season, they're currently sitting in the middle of the National League West. While they're right below the Dodgers, they've stunned LA this year, having a 7-3 record over them for 2021.

Now, while Fernando Tatis Jr. may be out with a shoulder injury now, he's still a staple for the Padres and will serve as a thorn in Colorado's side should he come back fully healthy in 2022.

Atlanta Braves

Unpopular take time! Before you roll your eyes, don't count out the Braves. Anything surrounding Atlanta always feels quiet and unimpressive. However, for the 2021 trade season, they were quiet but productive with some clutch additions.

Just like Tatis, the Braves currently have a familiar franchise face out on injury: Ronald Acuña Jr. While his injury is not ideal, the Braves were wise about keeping their core future players through 2021's trade season. Which, can't be said about every team (we're getting to that).

Also, let's not forget, former LA Dodger Joc Pederson is over in Atlanta now, and for better or for worse, the Rockies are quite familiar with him.

Now, I know I said "five most anticipated match ups", but I'm going to throw in a bonus one. And this gets honors-English-class level deep. I think the most anticipated match up against the Rockies in 2022 are the Colorado Rockies themselves.

Colorado Rockies

For a team that seems to be lacking anything resembling a plan, they are going to be their own biggest stumbling block. After fumbling Arenado to the Cardinals early in 2021, confusing fans and Trevor Story alike about Story's future with the organization, and several other questionable season decisions, the Rockies are holding fast to what they think is best for the franchise.

The Rockies have always been, what they call themselves, a "draft and develop" team. Not huge on making massive moves during trading season, it still confuses players who want out. With Trevor Story expressing vehement disinterest in extending his contract with the Rockies, he is still set and forced to finish out the 2021 season. However, once he's out, the Rockies will get nothing in return for him. If they had traded him this season, they might have actually gotten some benefit out of the deal.

However, after this season, Story will enter into free agency. With Arenado out in 2021 and Story more than likely out before the 2022 season, the familiar and consistent names with the Rockies are slowly dwindling. And, with no major moves or additions so far, fans and players alike have no idea what exactly the end goal is.

Best Rockies Lineup of All-Time


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